The shocking assault occurred just after midnight Tuesday at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. According to the Transport Workers Union, the driver was operating a shuttle bus for subway riders affected by the overnight shutdown for track repairs along part of the Q line in Brooklyn when he was attacked.
The driver was between stops when a man asked to be allowed to board. The driver told him he could board at the next stop.
As the bus was paused at the intersection, the man forced open the rear door, spat on the driver, and a fight broke out, according to the union.
The man stabbed the 39-year-old driver in the stomach and slashed him above the eye, police said. As they were fighting, two more men boarded the bus and threatened the driver with a box cutter, the NYPD said.
Then the three men got off the bus. Two men fled south on Ocean Avenue while the other fled eastbound on Empire Boulevard, police said. The NYPD released security camera images of the three men.
The police released security-camera images of three men wanted in connection with the stabbing and menacing of an MTA bus driver on June 7, 2022. (MTA via NYPD)
The driver, who has been on the job for eight years, was brought to Methodist Hospital.
The driver made sure the passengers aboard had gotten off the bus before he could be taken to the hospital, according to the TWU.
"This is a regular working-class guy who was doing the business of the city, making sure people could get where they need to go when the subway was down, and he was subjected to an unprovoked and horrible attack. This criminal must be caught, and he should get the maximum penalty under the law," TWU Local 100 President Tony Utano said. "He's sitting up and talking. His family is with him. He's obviously shaken up but is dealing with the trauma the best he can."
During a briefing with the media Tuesday afternoon, TWU Local 100 Vice President J.P. Patafio said bus drivers need more security and protection from the city. He threatened that drivers would not continue to do their jobs if their requests weren't met.
"If we don't feel like we're getting the safety that we need, the city could shut down. My members are going to act and they're going to act because they're frustrated."
Patafio suggested the city build bus operator cockpits to keep drivers separated from passengers and have police officers ride the buses with more frequency.
Last month, a couple who apparently were upset they couldn't get on a bus in between stops brutally attacked the driver. The woman boarded the bus in the Bronx and threw some unknown liquid in the driver's face.
The driver exited the bus and the NYPD said she was knocked to the ground, punched, and kicked by the couple. They then ran off.